F1 Car Cost Breakdown

F1 Teams invest millions into world championships, but what is the actual cost of the car?

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As a result of the continuous fight for improved performance, the cost of producing an F1 car has skyrocketed. It has been known, that with improved aerodynamic performance, this will in turn increase the speed of the car. Pat Symonds, who is F1 Chief Technical Director having previously worked at Williams and Marussia, shared his expert perspective on the actual breakdown of an F1 car`s cost. 

Pat argues that it is quite challenging to estimate the cost of creating an F1 car, stating that he is always inquisitive about the total expenses incurred on car components. Regardless of information in-accessibility challenges, he is able to estimate the costs incurred using his experience at Marussia. Initially, it was believed that the cost of constructing and subsequently developing a top-level F1 car before 2021 could reach a staggering $400m. However, with the introduction of a budget cap of $145m for a team`s complete operations starting in 2021, which will then decrease to $140m in 2022 and $135m in 2023, teams will now have to significantly enhance their efficiency in production and development processes.

In a brief outline below, Symonds provides the breakdown of the actual cost of an F1 livery with costs only covering the fabrication expenses and not including any research and development fees:       

Chassis;

The chassis functions in offering protection to the driver. It is a fundamental part of the car, which encompasses the front wing as well as the halo. It is built as a single-piece monocoque. Furthermore, it is made up of twelve layers of carbon fiber mats, weighs approximately 35kgs, and is responsible for supporting the weight of all other components while enduring significant aerodynamic forces. The total estimated manufacturing cost of the chassis is $707,000. 

Drag Reduction System (DRS) and Rear Wing

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In F1, the DRS as well as the rear wing play a significant role in the generation of downforce for the car, which provides increased grip during corners and ultimately leads to faster lap times. Despite their relatively small size, both the front and rear wings need to be consistently developed and constructed from race to race, hence why they are very expensive. The DRS and Rear wing are estimated to be around $85 000-$150,000.

Front Wing/Nose Cone

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The front wing and nose cone's different designs make them even more costly. The front wing plays a crucial role in generating downforce, which ultimately plays a very important role in the performance of the car. Whilst different sources mention different prize ranges, front wings are estimated to be around $141500.

Halo

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The Halo was designed in a bid to protect the driver's heads from the aftermath of a car crash. The halo was tested over 100 Kilo-Newtons and since its introduction, it has protected drivers such as Charles Leclerc as well as Valtteri Bottas. The Halo is estimated to cost around $17000. 

Floor and Bargeboards

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As the front wing generates downforce, the floor of an F1 car contributes around 60% of its downforce. This is very crucial in the car's performance outcomes, hence the structure has been increasingly become complex and very expensive to build. After FIA relaxed regulations surrounding the usage of barge boards, their construction has also become complex and hence its high costs. The expected cost of floor and barge boards is $141000.

Engine

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F1 uses the 1600cc V6 turbocharged engines (or Power Units) since 2014. The engines are well adapted for optimum performance of the cars. Considering the engines comprise six components; the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), Turbocharger (TC), Motor-Generator Unit-Kinetic (MGU-K), Motor Generator Unit-Heat (MGU-H), the Energy Store, as well as the Control Electronics (CE). The engine is currently priced at an estimated $10.5 million.

Gearbox

The gearbox contains 8 forward gears and one reverse gear. The gearbox is semi-automatic. The gearbox structure allows for seamless shifting, which does not necessarily take longer than 0.05 seconds. They are estimated to be at around $354,000.

Fuel Tank

F1 fuel tanks are made from Kevlar as well as polyurethane, and they are attached to the driver’s seat comprising a “bag” of fuel. They are valued at $31000.

Steering Wheel

F1 Steering wheels are constructed mainly from carbon fiber, and it comprises 20 buttons, nine rotary switches, and six paddles. Each of the buttons is used according to the team’s needs. It is quite small in size but is valued at $50000.

Hydraulics

The hydraulics controls nine subsystems of the car which include Power Steering, Clutch, gear shifts, reverse gear, differential, DRS System, brake by wire, inlet valves, throttle as well as turbo wastegate. Given the complex structure of the hydraulics system, they are prized at $170000.  

Brake Discs and pads

An F1 brake disc can cost between $2000 and $3000 whereas the pads are cheaper, priced at $780 each. Other components comprise calipers which are prized at $5600, master cylinders at $5400 each, and disc bells which are prized at $2800. The brake pedals, as well as the accelerator, are both prized at $7000, bringing the total cost for brake discs and pads to be at $78000.

Tires

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Pirelli is F1 Tyre Supplier, and he supplies soft, medium as well as hard compounds adapted for different conditions/specifications which can change from race to race. Pirelli also produces Wet and Intermediate tires for damp conditions. A set of tires costs $3000. 

Other small components which may not be included in the article above but are a necessity in the manufacture of an F1 Car have a total cost of $51000. 

The total cost of an F1 Car is priced at $20.62 million.



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